Dear Dad: The need to accept our parents for the individual they actually are

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Dear Dad (2016), directed by Tanuj Bhramar is a simple yet very powerful narrative of a father and his son. Arvind Swamy plays the role of a father who is struggling to come to terms with his sexual identity. Himanshu Sharma, plays the role of a teenage son who is still struggling to understand things. Bhramar has boldly and courageously brought forth a narrative which is still rare and has not been explored with such intensity.

    Arvind Swamy is a gay man. He is a man who is facing divorce and his presumably functional “normal” family is no longer stable. That he is a gay man and has found refuge by marrying his best friend is something often people of alternate sexuality use as a method to save themselves from the harsh scrutiny of the world. Though, the society has often in the midst of globalization and mordernity has claimed to accept diverse orientations of sexuaity. However, this notion is falsely romantic. The reality is harsh and very different. To come out of the closet is a challenge. To deviate oneself from the norms of a highly patriarchal and pseudo modern society and try to embrace one’s sexual orientation is very difficult. Often it’s life threatening.

Shivam, when learns the truth of his father’s identity, finds himself at a dilemma. The very idea about what we teach our children about the norms of sexuality, masculinity and feminity is explored deeply. The son has been brought up with false notions of a man’s sexuality. That a man, at a right age should fall in love with a woman, or in case given the liberty to like many woman is considered normal. Whenever there are situations which are deviated from “normal”, conflicts are bound to arise. The son thinks of alternate sexuality as a disease. He goes ahead to find a cure . The cure, does not make his father “normal”.  Being gay, a lesbian or a gender queer person does not have a cure. It does not need a cure.

The narrative also points out that by marrying, having kids does not necessarily mean that an individual has repressed his alternate orientation. This very idea has been propagated widely since the beginning of time by the vehicle of patriarchy and toxic masculinity. One important idea that Bhramar has brought home is the idea of consent.  The highly paradoxical world of television and its plethora of so-called reality tv shows has produced another character who is highly influenced by its illusions. Aditya Taneja, played by Amal Uppal sets the action rolling.  His attempts to protect himself when Arvind tells him about his sexuality hit an important note in understanding the stereotyping of the LGBT community. The people belonging to this community are not rapists and take into consideration the idea of consent and like other people, they too have their own preferences. This is clearly stated by Avind himself.

Bhramar has been very successful in approaching this topic sensitively. The movie ends with Shivam accepting his dad for who he is and thus Swamy’s evolution is complete. The narrative brings home the point that it is a need to raise our children with the idea that everybody is free to love whomever they chose. Love has no gender.

 

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